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Waging economic war against Iran

Stephen Beard May 29, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The White House is reported to be planning an all-out financial attack on Iran over its plans to enrich uranium. The Washington Post is reporting today that the US is pressuring European and other allies to join an economic war against the Iranians. From the European Desk in London, Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: The idea is this: if diplomacy fails, let money do the talking. If Iran continues enriching uranium, the US, Europe and Japan should jointly impose economic sanctions against the country, freeze Iranian government accounts held abroad, seize the personal assets of key figures in the Iranian regime.

But there’s a problem, says George Joffe of Cambridge University. The Iranians already switched most of their assets away from Europe to Asia he says. And most Asian governments won’t go along with the plan.

GEORGE JOFFE: Japan is heavily dependent on access to energy from the Gulf and particularly from Iran. The same is true of South Korea. And therefore I doubt whether either government will be very anxious to support the United States in this endeavor.

But US officials quoted by the Washington Post say multinational economic sanctions persuaded Libya to give up its nuclear program. They could do the same with Iran. In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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